Towards a century at the heart of Connacht rugby

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Senior Club Awards 2022

Women’s 1st XVPlayer of The YearMairead Coyne
Players’ Player of the YearLisa Marie Murphy
Most Improved PlayerSaskia Morrissey
Women’s 2nd XVPlayer of The YearAoife Williams
Players’ Player of the YearRuby Lynch
Most Improved PlayerAnn Marie Herward
Men’s 1st XVPlayer of The Year Christy Reilly
Players’ Player of the YearBen McGuinness
Men’s 2nd XVPlayer of The YearConor O’Reilly
Players’ Player of the YearCormac Furey
Men’s 3rd XVPlayer of The YearNeill Walsh
Players’ Player of the YearDylan Donohoe
Men’s Under 20sPlayer of The YearEvan Brady
Players’ Player of the Year George Hill
Club Person of the YearAbraham Afolabi

Youth Academy Awards 2022

The Galwegians RFC Youth Academy Awards ceremony was held in glorious sunshine on Wednesday evening April 27th at Crowley Park. A huge turn-out by youths players, coaches, managers & parents saw over 20 individual awards presented on the night by club President Carl Blake.

The event was superbly organised by Master of Ceremonies, the Galwegians Director of Youths Football Mickey Sherlock, who thanked all the coaches, managers, parents and family members for supporting the club throughout the year. However he singled out the Youth teams and players for specific mention, as they are what the evening was all about and who represent the future of the club. He also cited the fact that no less than seven members of the current Galwegians Senior Men’s AIL squad are recent products of Galwegians Mini-rugby and the Youths systems, emphasising the progression pathway which is there for young players within the club.

Galwegians are celebrating their centenary this year. Two of the underage boys’ teams (U13’s & U18.5’s) have just this month completed memorable tours to Portugal and France respectively, and Wegians are planning tours next season for the underage teams.

Before presenting the individual prizes, President Carl Blake addressed the large attendance and also thanked and praised all involved for running a very successful underage season. He also singled out Director of Youths Football Mickey Sherlock himself for overseeing this hugely important part of the club all year and for masterminding the Awards event. He also stressed the importance of young players both staying involved and also helping recruit more friends to join and give rugby a try. 

Both the President and Director of Youths emphasised that while their grounds in Crowley Park were recently sold to GMIT (now ATU), that Galwegians have a bright future and will remain for hopefully another 100 years. They have up to 10 years to remain at Crowley Park but are working hard sourcing new playing grounds.

Besides the underage player awards, the final act saw the presentation of the Galwegians Youth Rugby Person of the year Award, which acknowledges an individual who has gone above and beyond the role of volunteerism during the year. And for outstanding contribution as a parent, coach, organiser and volunteer in many areas of the club, this year’s deserving recipient is Dervilla Hehir Campbell.

Coaches’ Player of YearPlayers’ Player of YearMost Improved
U13 BoysOisin ParkerDavid Casserly
Martin Sweeney
U14 BoysDara O’CaoileannAlban HarteAlex Kavanagh
U15 BoysDaithi Mac CearraIsaac KellyRobert Bradley
U16 BoysJames KeaneCallum ElwoodMiguel Rubio (Valladolid RAC, Spain)
U16 GirlsJemma LeesSara KennellyEadaoin Connolly
U17 BoysShay Mc GovernIarla CollinsSean Malone

Meet Chairman Mike Ryan

Where are you from?

Reared in centre of town and living in Salthill for past 34 years.

Family? 

Wife Carmel, two daughters, Michelle & Alison and a son, Frank, who played up to U18 for Club.

First Joined Wegians?

1979

Teams Played?

Thirds mostly, Seconds and Firsts when they were really stuck, like late call ups for trips up North.

Previous Roles in the Club? 

Thirds captain, Club Secretary, Coach in Youths Section.

Career 

Qualified as a Solicitor in 1980, founded M G Ryan & Co in 1983 and recently retired. Former President of the Galway Solicitors Bar Association.

Hobbies Outside Rugby

The great outdoors generally be it on the road or mountain bike, the ocean, mountains and have a particular grá for the Aran Islands and the Alps where I spend some time and will be operating remotely from at times.

I am an active member of St Vincent de Paul Society and currently President of the Salthill Conference as well as a member of the Board that runs Croi na Gaillimhe, the resource centre in Mill Street.

I am my wife’s garden labourer. Member of Fr Griffin’s GAA club and avid spectator-viewer of all sports except cricket.

Your Hopes or Aspirations?

Hoping to join with a hard working team in making the Club the premier Club in Connacht again in new state of the art facilities.

Sincerely hope that all members past and president will come on board.

Ní neart go cur le chéile.

COVID Christmas advice from our club doctor

Variants are inevitable in viral infections and the appearance of them has been predicted from the start of the pandemic. Information on Omicron is relatively sparse compared to what we know about previous variants, but the early signs do show that it is probably much more transmissible than the most recent named one, that being Delta.

This is a rapidly changing landscape. However, for now the sensible thing to do is to proceed with caution.

  • Try to limit close contacts, especially in poorly ventilated rooms.
  • Sanitise/Wash your hands. 
  • Avoid hugging and handshakes.
  • Be especially careful around people with weakened immune systems (the older age groups, diabetics, people on immunosuppressive drugs, those receiving treatment for cancer etc).
  • Wear a mask where and when requested.

And if you don’t feel comfortable with the amount of people around you, just leave. There’s no need to even make an excuse.  Just leave and stay safe.  

But this phase too will pass, and we have given ourselves the best chance we can by being vaccinated and maintaining the simple rules that have served us quite well since March 2020. And the future months may provide more hope than we can foresee at the moment.

So I encourage you all to stay the course, get your booster, protect each other by taking simple steps, and above all, have a safe and enjoyable Christmas and New Year.

Hopefully the next time I am writing, we will be in a much brighter situation.

David Bouchier-Hayes, Galwegians COVID Officer

AGM Ushers In Our Centenary Season

Our 99th AGM was held online on Wednesday evening.

Outgoing President Erc Dunne handed over the reins to Carl Blake, who becomes our first 3rd generation President. We believe this is a first for Irish club rugby.

Senior Vice President is Frank Kinneen, with Erc stepping back in as Junior Vice President.

PresidentCarl Blake
Senior Vice PresidentFrank Kinneen
Junior Vice PresidentErc Dunne
ChairmanFrank Kinneen
Director of AdministrationNoel Lowndes
Director of FinanceGerry Gallagher
Director of Women’s RugbyDiane Wright
Director of RugbyJames Heaslip
Director of Youth AcademyMickey Sherlock
Director of House & GroundsMacDara Hosty
Director of DevelopmentNiall Beatty
PROCarl Blake
Connacht Branch Rep 1Michael Tarpey
Connacht Branch Rep 2Pat Surlis
Galwegians Office Holders for 2021-22 Season

See the full Club Committee with contact details on our Club Contacts page

Annual General Meeting Sep 1st

Before the AGM

Q. When and how will the AGM happen?

It will be held online on the ZOOM platform at 7.30pm Wednesday September 1st 2020.

Q. How do members register and what is the deadline?

As this event is virtual, pre-registration is required using the following form:

The registration deadline is 6pm, Monday August 30th. Entry to the virtual room on the night will strictly be limited to Members who have pre-registered.

Q. Why is the AGM virtual?

In recent weeks the committee has been closely monitoring the Govt. COVID-19 public health guidelines, with a view to exploring all options and holding a live AGM if possible. Based on the latest guidelines and in consultation with our COVD Officer, it has been decided that holding a live event on September 1st at this point in time would be both high risk and a logistical challenge. The health & safety of our members remains at all times the number one priority, hence the decision to run a virtual event as was the case in 2020.

Q. Who Is eligible to attend?

All Life Members and paid up Ordinary or Playing members are eligible and encouraged to attend the AGM. 

Q. Can I nominate an individual for Office

A. Any Member wishing to contest election for a seat on the Board shall inform the Director of Administration by emailing  not less than seven clear days prior to the Annual General Meeting of his or her intention to stand for election and the Board position sought. The Member shall obtain from the Director of Administration the prescribed Nomination Form and return it to him by email, including a proposer and seconder together with a signed commitment to contest the election not later than two clear days prior to the Annual General Meeting. Only Members in good standing will be eligible to stand for election and/or propose and/or second a candidate for such an election. A Member may propose himself or herself.

How Will The Meeting Be Run

The objective is to simulate a live event in so far as possible through the appropriate use of technology.

Q. How can a member access the virtual meeting?

The AGM will be held on the ZOOM virtual platform. A private link to access the meeting will be emailed to all registrants within 24 hours of the AGM.

Q. What is the Quorum?

The quorum for an Annual General Meeting is 20. If a quorum has not assembled in the virtual meeting room within 30 minutes of the start time of 7.30pm, the Director of Administration may in his discretion declare the AGM abandoned.

Q. Is there a maximum attendance limit online?

No, there is no max. attendance. The ZOOM platform will be able to accommodate as many eligible Members as possible. However please note the registration deadline above.

Q. What will the duration be?

While it is hard to predict an actual duration, the expectation is that the AGM should be complete within ca. 90 minutes. To facilitate this, papers will be made available in advance to those registered where possible i.e. agenda, minutes from last year, Directors’ Reports.

Q. How will input from attendees be possible at an online AGM?

At the start of the meeting, everyone will be asked to observe online etiquette, mute their microphones and switch off their cameras so that the only person visible and audible will be the person speaking. After the Directors’ reports have been delivered, attendees will be invited by the Chair to indicate whether they want to ask a question or make a comment by switching on their camera and clicking the ‘Raise hand’ function. Attendees will then be invited to speak in the order in which the cameras were switched on. After an attendee has finished their input, they will be asked to mute their microphone and switch off their camera again.

Q. What happens if the same question is asked twice?

In the interests of time-keeping and efficiency, we would ask that attendees would try where possible not to repeat questions that have already been asked and answered.

Q. Can online voting be held?

Yes. If there is a contest for any position or vote to be held, we can conduct an online vote which is limited to the registered participants. This is the same process as was successfully applied at our recent SGM in May 2021.

Q. Can I vote by proxy?

No, voting will be limited to those in attendance.

What if I have further questions on the AGM?

Please email  and we will endeavour to answer any queries as best we can. 

Many thanks for your co-operation and we look forward to having a healthy attendance at the AGM.

COVID-19: Where are we, when will this end and what do we have to do?

David Bouchier-Hayes

Back in February I wrote about my own personal experience having received the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, and the positive impact that it had on me personally. I am delighted to be able to say that many club members (although obviously not all) have now also been vaccinated.

During this time I also became a vaccinator myself and have vaccinated approximately 75 people. I would have to say that it has been one of the most rewarding things that I have done in the 30 years that I have been a doctor.

In terms of the COVID-19 pandemic overall, I thought I would take the opportunity to give you my own thoughts from a medical point of view and discuss briefly what we has individuals and as a club can continue to do to improve the situation.

The virus has inevitably mutated into a more transmissible variant (“Delta”) and this is most likely not the last variant that we will see.  The upshot is that infection rates remain extremely high. This tends to be in the younger age group of 15-29 years of age, mainly because this group are only partly vaccinated as of yet. Although hospitalisations have been markedly reduced, we are still seeing quite a significant number of people being admitted to hospital and now we are starting to see young men and women in their 20s very unwell in the intensive care unit.  

So, whilst we are going in the right direction and are coming into the end game of this bizarre and challenging situation, the virus can still cause major disruption.  With this in mind, I would encourage every member of the club, from teenagers up to the oldest members, to get themselves vaccinated as soon as possible.

I know there have been concerns about the various vaccines that have been amplified incorrectly on social media. However, looking at the proper scientific data shows the incidence of severe side effects from any of the vaccines is extremely rare and much less than the risk of acute COVID, or more worryingly, Long COVID which we know very little about as of yet.

This remains an illness that you do not want to get, no matter what age you are, with some recent work showing that it may she calls a destruction of brain tissue in a significant number of people, which highlights the seriousness of the situation. 

All adult club members are now in a position to be able to register for vaccination, and indeed my own local pharmacist in Roscam just received a supply of single shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine which he was giving to 3 young men in the short time that I was in his premises yesterday. I would encourage people to also look at this route of utilising the pharmacists. 

As I said, the side effect profile for severe side effects is extremely rare and I myself have given over 75 people two doses of vaccine which I think shows the level of trust that I have personally in the vaccines, and that almost all of my medical colleagues do as well.

The only way to beat this virus and return to normality is via vaccination.  By being vaccinated you are protecting not only yourself but also those around you, including those who for other reasons cannot be vaccinated.  

One of the amazing aspects of rugby is team work, where people are willing to put themselves in physical danger for the betterment of the team overall.  If you are willing to put body on the line for your teammates on the rugby field, I think that same sense of team work and interest in the betterment of others will help you to decide that vaccination is in not only your best interest, but the team and the community’s best interest too.

I would also point out that we need to remain vigilant in terms of minimisation of social and physical contact, maintaining social distancing, mask wearing where necessary, not sharing car journeys with each other unless everyone is vaccinated, not sharing equipment and sticking to pods of 15 (or the appropriate number) in training, and filling out the fitness to play declaration on every occasion throughout all levels of the club.  

One positive case has the possibility of taking out 15 players for 2 weeks, not only from training and playing but also from work and all other social contact. We all have a responsibility to each other and to the club in general to minimise the risks of any of us transmitting the virus if we are positive.

As I said previously in February, vaccines are the way out of this intolerable situation we are in and I am delighted that this prediction is coming true.  We are in a much better position than we were at at almost any stage over the last 18 months, and there is certainly hope not just on the horizon, but much closer than that.  

I would encourage every club member for the sake of themselves, an their teammates, the club and the community in general to get themselves vaccinated as quickly as possible, to believe in fact and hard science, and to put your faith in what to see around you in terms of how effective the vaccines have been to date. By pulling together and looking after each other, we will see this out until the end and return to a significant sense of normality over the next couple of months.

I would like to applaud everyone for the phenomenal efforts that they have put in over the last 18 months, especially the efforts of those who stepped forward to volunteer as COVID compliance officers, as well as the club officers who have always taken this situation very seriously, and have been open to listening to my suggestions and advice.

I think all of us deserve an evening of celebration sometime in the future and I would be very hopeful that that will be in the next couple of months.

Best of luck to everyone in this new season and remember, PLEASE GET VACCINATED!

Prof. David Bouchier-Hayes  (DBH)
Club COVID Safety Officer and Medical Supervisor

Gordon Darcy Charity Cycle visits Galwegians

Ex international Gordon Darcy cycled into Crowley Park as part of his 8560km fundraiser for the amazing Barretstown Charity for sick children and families.

Thanks to all who turned up, Darce visited 9 clubs and was hugely impressed with his welcome in Crowley Park.

See the pictures below. Sincere thanks the Mike Shaughnessy Photography for these.

Well done President Erc Dunne for the organisation and for stepping aside to make U13 Jack Farrell special president for the day. Jack hugely impressed all including Darce himself as can be seen by this tweet.

Well done all.

Ready for action at Glenina. Photo courtesy of Mike Shaughnessy
President for a day. Photo courtesy of Mike Shaughnessy
Presidential address to club. Photo courtesy of Mike Shaughnessy
Deposed President and his successor with Gordon Darcy. Photo courtesy of Mike Shaughnessy
Team Darcy – Galwegians. Photo courtesy of Mike Shaughnessy
Assembled cyclists. Photo courtesy of Mike Shaughnessy
Irish Rugby Legend Gordon Darcy is taking on a phenomenal 850km cycling challenge around Ireland to raise money for Barretstown Children’s Charity. Gordon stopped off at alwegians RFC’s clubhouse at Glenia on Thursday morning to the welcome of Galwegians players and officials. Gordon is pictured leaving Galwegians RFC with Colm O’donnellan, Colm O’Boyle, Frank Killeen and James and Aoibhe Keane. Photo courtesy of Mike Shaughnessy

Meet Head Coach Ja Naughton

Galwegians have confirmed the appointment of Jarleth Naughton as Head Coach of the Men’s Senior Team. It follows the recent departure of Andrew Browne to the Connacht Academy. A Galway city native, we caught up with ‘Ja’ to ask him about his career to date.

1. When did you join and start playing for Wegians?

I started with Wegians when I was thirteen with the U14s under Noel ‘Tully’ Murtagh and Stephanie Dowling Folan

2. What Position did you play?

Front-row, Loose head prop. I tried hooker in my first year of senior rugby for a couple of games, but almost all my career has been wearing the no. 1 jersey.

3. Which years were you club captain?

I was made captain for the 2014/15 season, a memorable year when we gained promotion to AIL Division 1A, and held the role until I finished playing rugby in 2016.

4. When did you start coaching and which team?

I started coaching in the Connacht Summer Camps and with GMIT for a season and I also did a season with NUIG u20s while I was still playing.

After I finished playing, I was made head coach of the NUIG J1 team for 2 seasons and I was also head coach of the Connacht Women for 2 season during this time. 

I then returned to Wegians and have been part of the coaching team here for 3 seasons now. 

5. Your reaction to being appointed Senior Men’s Head Coach?

It’s a great honour being asked to take the reins, and it’s even more special leading in to our 100th year anniversary.

6. What are your hopes & aspirations?

I am excited to continue building on the work that we put in place the last two years. 

I’m looking forward to developing this group of players over the next season. I have seen some great potential in these young players coming through and we have some experienced players to help guide them too. I’m also delighted to have Morgan Codyre and Anto Ryan on board with me this year. They are both eager to get started and will bring some new fresh ideas to the group. 

7. Is internal progression important in the club?

Absolutely, it’s great to see some ex-players coming back to help guide the groups under the senior men’s team from Packie, Clarkie, Hackett with the U20s, Barry Gavin with the U18s, Spencer with the U17s, and John Cass with the U16s. I like to think the future is safe with people who are passionate about the club and care about the players. 

8. Your Proudest Achievement in Wegians?

On the pitch, it would have to be beating Garryowen to win promotion to Division 1A, due to the buzz around the place and what was on the line that day. But if I’m being honest, I would say doing up the gym to what it is now because it benefits everyone. It wasn’t just me but it was a proud moment.

9. Final thoughts?

I just wanted to wish Brownie all the best in his new role. We worked really well together over the 2 seasons, and I know that he will do really well in his new role with Connacht. 

And a final word from our President Erc Dunne:

“I’m delighted for Ja and Galwegians. I have watched his progression through our club from player to coach and as we move towards our Centenary. It’s easy to see why he is where he is now. Ja has grown with the club, he works hard to develop his skills and of those around him, he understands who we are and where we want to be. I want to wish him and the rest of our coaching team every success for the season ahead.  I also want to thank our good friend Andrew Browne for his hard work over the last two seasons and wish him every success in his new role with Connacht”.

Special General Meeting May 27th Outcome

A huge turnout of over 100 members went online last Thursday evening to vote on the motion proposed for the sale of Crowley Park to GMIT.

An overwhelming 99% voted in favour of the deal, which essentially gives us 10 years to find a new grounds which are fit-for-purpose.

Commenting on the outcome which was warmly welcomed within and outside the club, President Erc Dunne said:

“Once again, I want to thank all our members for participating in what is a historic vote for our club. But there is still much work to do. There is an old Irish saying: ‘Giorraíonn beirt bóthar’ – Two shorten the road. Working together and supporting each other, we can overcome the challenges that lie ahead”

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